Gaetano’s offers ritz of the Strip, coziness of a mom-and-pop shop

My first impression of Gaetano’s Ristorante after having not been in for several years? That it smelled like a Strip resort.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

And no, there is nothing wrong with that. I’m not talking stale cigarette smoke and pool chlorine. But you know how the newer resorts have that fresh scent that connotes a state of cleanliness and newness? Yeah, that.

And as I looked around the room, Gaetano’s reminded me in other ways of a Strip-resort restaurant, without the Strip prices and Strip traffic. Mom-and-pop spots can often look sort of shopworn; I think that, just as a lot of people don’t notice things fading in their homes, some owners don’t notice them in their restaurants. That’s not the case at Gaetano’s, though, where, despite the fact that the restaurant has been in the same location in a Henderson strip center for 11 years, everything looks fresh and new. Glassware sparkles, tables are draped in brown and black linens and in addition to the more noticeable decorative touches (like large-scale artwork and mirrors, appropriate for the size of the room) there are subtle ones, such as the shutters that separate the bar area from the dining room.

But try as they might, resort restaurants generally lack the sense of the personal, the familiar, that a mom-and-pop tends to have. At Gaetano’s that proud proprietary touch was provided by Gaetano Palmeri himself, who greeted customers and walked around the dining room to ensure that nothing was amiss. And, as it often follows, very nearly nothing was.

A starter of Carciofi Fritti ($9.95), or baby artichokes, was pure perfection. There were a lot of ways this dish could have gone wrong, none in which it did. The six baby artichokes were perfectly tender, their coating perfectly crisp and with no taint of grease, the pesto aioli served on the side perfectly balanced so that neither pesto nor garlic overwhelmed.

The same was the case with the Ossobucco alla Milanese ($38.95). When I reviewed this some years ago my friend and I both thought the accompanying saffron risotto was so salty as to spoil the dish, but that was not the case this time. The risotto was — here’s that word again — perfection, the veal shank as well, unfailingly tender and very flavorful.

Heck, we even liked the bread selection. Our basket contained a lavoshlike crackery sesame flatbread, a country-style Italian and a tomato-topped focaccia, served with a cup of balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil, the balance tilted toward the vinegar (that’s a good thing).

Service was very good, our waiter possessed of that rare condition of both a sense of humor and a sense of timing. He was informative (and really impressive as he reeled off a long list of specials from memory) and always in attendance, returning frequently to refill our wine glasses and coffee.

We had one quibble — and note the use of the word “quibble,” because this really was a minor point: The gnocchi was soggy. We chose the Gnocchi con Gorgonzola ($18.95; the other option is fresh tomato-basil) and the velvety sauce that cloaked the little potato dumplings was … well … perfect, the Gorgonzola flavor prominent but tempered by cream and what tasted like a jot of nutmeg.

The gnocchi themselves, though, not so much. The potential was there — we could easily see that — but they were soggy in the center, as though they should have been cooked just a bit longer, or the dough was just a little moist. But considering the quality of the sauce, it was easy to forgive.

Contact reporter Heidi Knapp Rinella at hrinella@ or 702-383-0474.

The Nevada State Museum
The Nevada State Museum of Las Vegas, located at the Springs Preserve, covers all eras of the state, from prehistoric to today.
Throw a better dinner party
Cash appears at Baseball Winter Meetings
Lights FC mascot Cash plays the electronic drums at the EZ Inflatables’ booth on Tuesday at the Baseball Winter Meetings trade show at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
5 albums to soundtrack your holiday gatherings in style
1. Various Artists, “Holidays Rule," with Rufus Wainwright, The Shins, Calexico and more. 2. Various Artists, “We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year," with Lemmy Kilmister, Alice Cooper, Chuck Billy and others. 3. Various Artists, “Christmas on Death Row," featuring Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg to name but a few. 4. Bright Eyes, “A Christmas Album.” 5. Various Artists, "The Motown Christmas Album." (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
WinterFest in Henderson.
Miss Rodeo America Fashion Show
The 28 women contestants of Miss Rodeo America compete in a fashion show at the Tropicana on Dec. 7, 2018.
Tournament Of Kings Holiday Show
Wizards and warriors are ready for the holidays at Excalibur's Tournament of Kings Holiday Dinner Show.
Take a dive with the Silverton mermaids
A visit to the Silverton Casino Hotel is not complete without taking in the popular, and very unique, mermaid show.
Cowboys and western aficionados can buy virtually anything at Cowboy Christmas
Vegas Golden Knights Christmas Display
In the Las Vegas Valley, the chances of getting a white Christmas are slim. But this year, you can have a “Knight” Christmas. A Henderson resident has a Christmas lights display that is synchronized to the entrance music for the Golden Knights. GG Misa’s Knights light show is played every 30 minutes from 5 to 10 nightly. His light show consists of two songs: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and the entrance music, “Le Castle Vania,” from the movie “John Wick.” The display is located at 730 Bollons Island St. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Reivew-Journal)
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez is Just in Time For Repeal Day And Christmas
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez Is Just In Time For Repeal Day And Christmas. Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TV's LGBT superheroes
Green Valley Ranch's Winter's Village
The Mob Museum
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Quick Chat With Criss Angel
James D. Gish and Susan Anton rehearse
Susan Anton will be special guest at James D. Gish’s holiday concerts Dec. 7 at Summerlin Library and Dec. 9 at Clark County Library. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Winter Wonderland
"Majestic Holiday Magic" at the Bellagio Conservatory.
Underwater Santa At The Silverton
Santa takes a dive Sunday, December 2, at the Silverton Casino Hotel. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Cowabunga Bay Christmas Town
Las Vegas Natural History Museum
Las Vegas Natural History Museum, which opened in 1991, has exhibits of mechanical dinosaurs and taxidermied animals, along with live snakes, fish and sharks. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Magical Forest Lights
Cirque Du Soleil Performers Team Up For New Show "Kinekt"
Through dance, acrobatics and aerial arts, “Kinekt” tells a story all too familiar to modern families: how to maintain a human connection in the digital age. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ethel M Holiday Cactus Garden
The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas
The Pinball Hall of Fame was created by Tim Arnold and opened in 2006. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jump! The Ultimate Dog Show at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas
Trainer Lou “Mack” McCammon guides several rescue dogs through a series of tricks and jumps two shows a day weekends through December at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Buddy V - Sep 21 Confidante
Famous Infinity Mirror Room is open in Las Vegas
Yayoi Kusama's "Aftermath of Obliteration of Infinity" mirror room is open at the Bellagio in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Glittering Lights dazzles Las Vegas
The Glittering Lights holiday display is shining at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Mat Luschek/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like